2016 Results

The 2016 results were announced at the Ophthalmology Honours ceremony on Thursday 1st December 2016 at the Royal College of Surgeons, London, to which all commended, highly commended and winning entrants were invited to. The ceremony was hosted by Paralympian and former world record holder, Danny Crates, and the awards were presented by the ceremony host and judging panel.

If you would like to receive further information about any of these winning entries, please contact the Ophthalmology Honours team on ophthalmologyhonours@liberationunlimited.com

Best ophthalmology team
Winner

Epsom and St. Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust
Making a Difference for Glaucoma Patients: A 'Can Do' Approach

The glaucoma multi-disciplinary team at this centre was struggling to meet the needs of patients. Therefore in September 2014 drivers for change were identified. The aim was to offer Clinical Commissioning Groups a cost effective, streamlined service with improved governance and reduced isolated decision-making and to offer patients a more positive experience. The results achieved within one year were remarkable. The “Can Do” attitude adopted completely galvanised the team and their approach across all aspects of patient care completely redefined the patient journey. The judges congratulated the team for a major improvement and such a refreshing and successful effort, with several judges inspired to implement changes at their own centres.

Judges’ comments:
“This entry had clear objectives, a well laid out plan and clear results achieved through teamwork – a lot has been achieved in a year. There was an excellent team effort at all levels and across departments. The results were exceptional and brought about wide-reaching changes.”

Highly commended

Manchester Royal Eye Hospital
Central Manchester Foundation Trust Retinopathy of Prematurity Team

Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) is a potentially blinding disease that affects infants born at less than 32 weeks gestation or weighing less than 1500g at birth. Screening and prompt treatment has a huge effect on the quality-adjusted life years of those affected. Manchester Royal Eye Hospital has a unique team offering a first-rate service to premature infants and their families. The team is run day-to-day by four full time neonatal nurses who screen approximately 150 infants a year, with an additional 50 referred from other units for second opinions. A recent audit of 50 consecutive screens undertaken at the unit demonstrated that the nurse screeners produce high quality gradable images in 100% of cases. The active surveillance of at risk babies in the region has resulted in the identification of babies who would have missed screening. Due to this dedication, the sight of three infants has been saved in the last three years. The judges’ felt that the initiative should be replicated in other neonatal units across the UK.

Judges’ comments:
“This is clearly a very dedicated team who provided a good solution to ROP screening and reduced adverse outcomes as a result. The entry also demonstrated a good use of telemedicine. It had clearly defined goals and well thought out actions. This team is small but effective with a flexible approach and has achieved a lot, including the delivery of an excellent standard of care.”

Commended

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Stickler Syndrome Service

The National Stickler Syndrome Diagnostic Service was a very strong entry with successful patient pathways linked to research and very strong patient support. The judges described the team as ‘very specialist’ and ‘world class’. It is an excellent example of multi-disciplinary working that can be applied to other areas.


Making a Difference for Glaucoma Patients: A 'Can Do' Approach
Epsom and St. Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust
Central Manchester Foundation Trust Retinopathy of Prematurity Team
Manchester Royal Eye Hospital
Stickler Syndrome Service
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Best patient support or education initiative
Winner

Alder Hey Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
The Paediatric Intraocular Clinic

It is a major life event for parents when they are told that their perfect baby or young child has a cataract, who needs surgery and what that might involve. At the Paediatric Intraocular Clinic, a pathway was introduced to ease the anxieties of the parents and to give, as much as possible, a smooth and consistent experience; seeing, where possible, the same team members at the same clinic. The team has achieved a consistency in practice and in the clinical team, which has greatly assisted with reducing the anxieties of parents.

Judges’ comments:
“This is an excellent example of improved communication in the paediatric setting. A well thought out approach and a novel idea. The team recognised the lack of education and support for patients and as a result they successfully developed the service to meet these needs.”

Highly commended

East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust
Kent Association for the Blind ECLO Service

Four years ago this clinic introduced an Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO) service to provide patients with instant access to emotional support, further information about eye conditions and external services for support. This service has had a huge impact, providing emotional support for all patients as and when they need it, seeing on average 60 patients per month. It has been described by one patient as, “In a word – brilliant. You gave me the confidence to navigate a dark place that I knew nothing about and helped me find my way. Having an ECLO means that the people who are nervously sat waiting, who are too shy to speak up and ask for help, have someone there on the front line who will go to them to check they are okay, not left sitting in the dark.”

Judges’ comments:
“This initiative clearly showcased how building relationships with patients and support organisations can result in positive changes to clinical practice and improved services. The entry demonstrated a robust change that over time directly improved patient experience. It is an initiative that other centres could learn from.”

Commended

Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust with Blind Veterans UK
Making it easier to access charitable services for patients with sight loss

In light of the increasing demand on social services caused by an ageing population and the reduction in government funding, the support available to patients suffering sight loss has gradually diminished. However, support for eligible individuals is available through charities and one in particular, Blind Veterans UK, supports former service personnel. The application process can be lengthy, especially as information around eye conditions needs to be sought from eye clinics. To ensure support is accessed as quickly as possible, this clinic introduced a gold standard approach to ensure that all eligible patients receive timely access to services and has demonstrated a marked impact on patients.

Commended

University Hospitals Birmingham
A support and education day for patients with Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension

Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH) is an uncommon disorder characterised by increased intracranial pressure of unknown cause, predominantly seen in obese women of childbearing age. It is a debilitating condition causing headaches, nausea, vomiting, transient loss of vision and tinnitus. Education surrounding weight loss and maintenance has emerged as a key factor in the management of IIH. This service established a thorough approach to supporting the education and needs of patients with IIH. An excellent one-day programme was developed, with sessions including a talk by a Slimming World representative, a motivational talk by a patient who had lost weight and as a result had improved symptoms, an interactive fitness session run by British Military Fitness, cooking demonstrations on the preparation of healthy food, an interactive session of yoga and Pilates and a Zumba dancing workshop.


Alder Hey Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
The Paediatric Intraocular Clinic
East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust
Kent Association for the Blind ECLO Service
Making it easier to access charitable services for patients with sight loss
Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust with Blind Veterans UK
A support and education day for patients with Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension
University Hospitals Birmingham

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Best ophthalmology care innovation
Winner

Manchester Royal Eye Hospital
Real-time Patient Journey Assessment Platform

Manchester Royal Eye Hospital developed a bespoke, electronic, patient tracking platform, MAP, to address issues around consistency in patient flow, to minimise the time patients spend in waiting areas and to optimise patient experience of care. The platform provides quantified data on patient flow and offers an unparalleled level of real-time visualisation of clinical activity. It provides the clinic co-ordinator with a real-time overview of all patients undergoing any assessment or treatment, as well as patients waiting to go through any step of the pathway. It enables the co-ordinator to observe the real-time flow of patients from step-to-step, meaning bottlenecks developing at any one step are promptly highlighted. MAP also offers a unique opportunity to optimise patient experience and manage patient expectations in injection clinics. By linking the system to the main screen in the outpatient waiting area it is possible to offer information to service users on average waiting times between various steps of the pathway. This relieves confusion around complex pathways and infuses a sense of involvement to patients ensuring a positive experience of care.

Judges’ comments:
“This was a very innovative, interesting and clever way of mapping patient flow. It is a great initiative which could enable centres to be more in control and responsible for the timely running of clinics and to help improve service provision. This has excellent potential for future application across the UK and could change ways of working throughout the NHS.”


Real-time Patient Journey Assessment Platform
Manchester Royal Eye Hospital

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Ophthalmology unsung hero
Winner

Cara Mitchell
Macular Service Coordinator
Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Cara was nominated for this award for her patient-centred “nothing is too much trouble” approach, her ability to motivate, drive and innovate, but most importantly because her colleagues felt she doesn’t realise how good she is or how much staff, patients and carers benefit from what she contributes to the service. Cara started at band 2 and showed initiative and drive to improve the service for patients, carers and the team. Her support, commitment and hard work contributed to the exponential growth of the team’s research portfolio. Due to staffing shortages within the macular admin team, her skills were required to support the running of the clinical service. It quickly became apparent that she had so much to offer the service and for years she worked above her banding, covering the co-ordinator role without remuneration. She has recently been promoted, and now manages four assistants. Cara has always provided an exemplary service.

Judges’ comments:
“Cara is exceptional and has consistently performed above and beyond for a large span of her career. The progress and growth that she has shown in her role is extraordinary and she clearly makes an impact on all, with patient experience at the heart of everything she does. Cara is absolutely key to the success of the service, she truly is the definition of an unsung hero.”

Highly commended

Christopher Ellis
Ophthalmic Imaging Technician
Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust

Christopher has a great ability to recognise a problem, find a solution to that problem and then set about putting that solution into action. He is a great team player and will perform any task to assist in the smooth running of retinal clinics, which can range from running around after missing notes and referral letters to making patients cups of tea when they have been in the department for a few hours. Christopher has taken it upon himself to maintain all the slit lamps within the retinal suite making sure that the tonometers are correctly calibrated on a weekly basis and will come in early or leave late to make sure this is done. He has an extensive knowledge of computers and is always happy to help when people have problems with their systems. The department relies heavily on IT for the smooth running of its clinics and Christopher’s ability to solve most of the issues that arise means clinics aren’t delayed waiting for an offsite IT technician to arrive.

Judges’ comments:
“Christopher is a strong team player and it is clear that his skill set is of substantial importance to the running of the department. The support that Christopher provides to the team is unprecedented. Having a ‘go to’ person for all IT issues within a department is crucial for the efficient running of the clinics and service and this team are lucky to have just that in Christopher.”

Commended

June Crosby
Senior Eye Clinic Liaison Officer
Eye Hospital, Hull Royal Infirmary

June is “an exceptional ECLO” that has taken it upon herself to develop an improved Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI) pathway for the service. Her level of commitment to the role shines through and her compassionate and caring manner makes a real difference to the patients she serves and the care they receive. She is a comforting and cheerful presence in the clinic and her support is integral to the eye care delivered to patients. June is an asset to the department.


Cara Mitchell, Macular Service Coordinator
Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Christopher Ellis, Ophthalmic Imaging Technician
Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust
June Crosby, Senior Eye Clinic Liaison Officer
Eye Hospital, Hull Royal Infirmary

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Outstanding ophthalmology nurse or allied health professional
Winner

Anne-Marie Lacey
Nurse Practitioner
Royal Bournemouth Hospital

Anne-Marie is a Nurse Practitioner providing support to the macular service and the Emergency Eye Unit. She is an integral member of the team. Without her involvement in clinics the service would be under severe strain to provide the necessary capacity. She is able to motivate and support not only patients but other team members. Anne-Marie has supported the training of a second macula nurse and is always ready to support the team by seeing extra patients, including during weekend clinics. Anne-Marie’s considerate technique in giving injections has helped to reassure patients who are particularly nervous. She has worked tirelessly to improve herself professionally and provides compassionate holistic care to macula patients through the entirety of the patient journey.

Judges’ comments:
“It is evident that Anne-Marie is a highly skilled individual who involves herself with a range of activities well outside her everyday role. We were impressed that she was compared to a junior doctor and have to commend her for her organisational skills. She has taken on the responsibility to improve the service whilst maintaining a high patient empathy and level of support. We can’t praise her highly enough!”

Highly commended

Clare Hall
Staff Nurse VR Theatre
Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust

Clare has worked in the vitreo-retinal (VR) theatre since 2009. The service has been improved over the years by Clare’s ideas and her tireless research into other hospitals. She has built a strong team to support her in the VR theatre but it is always Clare that quietly takes on the responsibility and diligence to ensure that everything is organised to perfection.

Judges’ comments:
“Clare seems to have forged a unique and important role. She has good team building skills, a high level of commitment to the quality of the service and goes that extra mile. Clare has an excellent ability to take initiative and provide crucial support to the rest of the team. Her continuous commitment and loyalty to the team is extraordinary and is not something that you come across every day.”

Highly commended

Sue Walker
Specialist Ophthalmic Science Practitioner
East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust

Sue has a pivotal, central role within the Medical Retina and AMD team. She multi-tasks and maintains an overview of the clinic, often switching from one role to another to ensure there are no bottlenecks, which means that patients have a smooth journey through the service. She has made a big impact on the way the service is delivered, particularly in the development of the non-medical role within the multi-disciplinary ophthalmic team, which allows clinicians more time with complicated cases. Patients have commented on how well Sue looks after them – no matter how stressed clinic might be, each individual patient is always greeted with a smile and given the time they need.

Judges’ comments:
“The impact that Sue has on the service is unquestionable. Her ability to multi-task and adopt extended roles out of her remit is outstanding and she clearly has a high impact on patient experience. The entry showcases an impressive career progression. Sue is a strong team player and focuses on improving services by carving out a unique and incredibly useful role. She is clearly a fantastic leader who deserves to be recognised.”

Commended

James Bayley
Clinical Specialist Nurse Practitioner
Oxford Eye Hospital

James was nominated for this award by one of his patients who described him as “a devoted, compassionate, knowledgeable and totally professional nurse who may not expect to receive, but is wholly deserving of this award.” James’ nomination showcased the true care and attention that James takes with his work every day. The stand-out feedback provided clearly demonstrates the impact James has on patient experience on a daily basis.

Commended

Nicola Hopkins
Retinal Nurse Specialist
Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust

As a retinal nurse specialist, Nicola works very closely alongside the consultant; with her own patient list ranging from new patients with medical/surgical conditions, post-op VR surgery, diabetes-related conditions, to any medical VR problem. She is respected by senior and junior colleagues, who often ask for advice regarding patients if the consultant is not in clinic. Nicola is a critical contributor to patient care and patient welfare. She has a high level of engagement with patients and it is evident that Nicola makes a real difference to all.

Commended

Josna Patel
Diabetic Specialist Nurse
Hillingdon Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Josna is an excellent diabetic nurse performing to a very high standard. She has admirable skills, excellent intuition and first-rate knowledge of diabetes and ophthalmology. Josna’s ability to multi-task means that she has a high impact on the service and patient care and experience. She goes the extra mile to educate and inform patients.


Anne-Marie Lacey, Nurse Practitioner
Royal Bournemouth Hospital
Clare Hall, Staff Nurse VR Theatre
Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust
Sue Walker, Specialist Ophthalmic Science Practitioner
East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust
(left to right) Josna Patel, Diabetic Specialist Nurse
Hillingdon Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Nicola Hopkins, Retinal Nurse Specialist
Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust
James Bayley, Clinical Specialist Nurse Practitioner
Oxford Eye Hospital

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Judges’ special awards
Winner

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Bradford Ophthalmology Research Network: Enhancing patient care through research

Macular disorders are the leading cause of blindness and a decade ago treatment options were limited. There continues to be a growing need for research to find better treatment options, however opportunities for patients to participate in clinical research has historically been virtually non-existent. The aim of this research network was to develop a centre of excellence for macular diseases by encouraging a culture of research and evidence-based practice. The ophthalmology research team has evolved from one consultant and one nurse to a collaborative ophthalmology research network working with researchers in clinics, as well as universities. The research staff include two research nurses, one research associate, two research optometrists and four ophthalmic photographers. All retina consultants are engaged in research. The team has a growing portfolio of studies offering all patients an opportunity to participate in one clinical trial. The team has participated in 20 studies in the last six years and despite being a new centre the research team has outperformed its expectations.

Judges’ comments:
“This entry didn’t quite fit any of the award categories but we wanted to recognise this fantastic initiative as it was close to many of our hearts. Bradford is a first class macula research centre and the team’s efforts are excellent. The entry demonstrated a strong team, with commitment to research and translation from trial experience to improved clinical services. The team achieved impressive developments, significantly expanding research activity and bringing greater treatment options to patients.”

Winner

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Stickler Syndrome Service

Retinal detachment is a common and potentially blinding condition. There is considerable evidence that genetic factors play a causative role but the exact mechanisms are poorly understood. Over the last 25 years, this Cambridge Ophthalmology team has developed and led International research in Stickler Syndrome, an inherited connective tissue disorder that causes giant retinal tears leading to retinal detachment, often in both eyes. It is the commonest cause of childhood retinal detachment. Due to the complexity of diagnosis and variety in clinical features, underdiagnosis / misdiagnosis was common. The Trust identified a clear and essential need to improve the clinical and molecular diagnostic approach and to establish a multi-disciplinary team (MDT). As a result of the research and MDT service, in 2011 the Department of Health commissioned the team to provide the now National Stickler Syndrome Diagnostic Service for all patients in England with Stickler Syndrome. Health boards access the service via their own commissioning arrangements ensuring that all UK NHS patients have free access to a true MDT service, unparalleled anywhere else in the world.

Judges’ comments:
“This team is very specialist and world class. It is an excellent example of multidisciplinary working that can be applied to other areas. The National Stickler Syndrome Diagnostic Service demonstrates successful patient pathways linked to research and very strong patient support.”


Bradford Ophthalmology Research Network: Enhancing patient care through research
Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Stickler Syndrome Service
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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